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City Manager to be Fired for Failure to Apply for TIGER Grant??!!

Yes, in the real world, when you fail to apply for a $4.5 million (or $9 million) TIGER grant the City Council will probably fire you. (And this one was just a typo!!)

Of course in HMB we just ignore it completely, don't ask the City Manager to even explain herself, and for sure we don't fire her for both failing to submit the grant application and then covering up that failure for two full months. (I'm not sure which is worse, the failure of oversight to make sure the City's application was filed, or the complete gutlessness in hiding the outcome from the Council for two months...)

From the article: "Livingston city commissioners will decide whether to fire the city manager on Sept. 1 after the city failed to submit a $9 million grant application on time... Commissioner Jon Reddington proposed that terminating Meece’s contract become an action item on the next meeting’s agenda. Commissioner Adam Stern seconded the motion, and both went on to discuss why they believe Meece should be fired.

“Something just doesn’t seem right to me,” Reddington said. “I really think someone should be accountable for it.”

Stern also questioned the city administrations overall performance.

“Fundamentally, this is very disappointing,” he said."

Link to the real world can be found here: Web Link?


I have never met our City Manager. I am certain that she is a good person. I am also certain that many people love her.

She does, however, seem to run into management difficulties wherever she goes. The problems at East Palo Alto were ignored by our City Council when they selected her as our new City Manager. The City Council practically exploded in anger when questioned on their selection. They are now hoisted on their own petard and dare not take any actions against their chosen one.

We don't have sufficient data to determine who dropped the ball because the City Council will never allow a discussion of the situation. It may be only a coincidence that timing of the City Clerk's "disappearance " corresponds with the timing of this disclosure. Only a well defined PRA requests have a chance of revealing anything.

Meanwhile our infrastructure, coastal trails and coastline continue to deteriorate with no overall maintenance plan or financing to stop it.

This is as good a time to express some of the frustration I feel over City administration, and all it entails, as any.

After hearing about it, then reading the Review Editor's piece - "City fails to apply for $4.5 million federal grant" / "Council authorized it but application never completed", Web Link , it is easy to not only be curious, but to seek answers. I did that at the last City Council meeting (September 1, 2015).

I pitched a softball so easy, and so gently, trying to afford the City Council the opportunity to bring the matter out and provide their constituents with the 'story' as they wanted - to no avail. I asked the Council to speak to the matter to clear up any misinformation, affording the Council the opportunity to set the narrative and clear this matter up.

Instead, the matter was completely ignored. Before I had even sat back down, and the seat was the closest one to the podium in the room, Mayer Fraser called the next speaker and just completely passed on the opportunity.

The real problem here could be summed up with; were this but the only issue.

By now, most know that a $4.5 Million grant was lost, not because it was denied, but because the grant request was never submitted! Well...OK, we all make mistakes and this may have been a mistake. Hard to believe as most of us wouldn't make a $4.5 Million mistake, but it is possible.

The problem is that this "mistake" was compounded by the very administrator that was responsible for it in the first place, with apparent help of some Council members.

A pre-request was filed, and filed in a timely manner. The Council directed 'staff' (read the City Manager) to apply for it; and that's where the wheels fell off. The City manager, in discussion with a Council member months later, told that Council member the request was denied. The problem with that is that the folks on the receiving end of the request have stated that they never received said request.

That's a problem, a big problem. Not only was the request never submitted, but a very reasonable argument can be and is being made that the City Manager lied to a Council member - cause for immediate termination in most books.

Hence my request to the Council to discuss the matter publicly and clear up any "misunderstandings". By completely ignoring an honest request by a member of the public at an opportune time (a recorded public meeting), this Council appears to be trying to sweep the matter under the rug through avoidance.

This matter will not go away. It is a serious matter and one that needs to be fully addressed - and it will be, one way or another.

It is equally important to understand that this is not the first time we have had what appears to be a conflict with this City Manager - and we are not the only town to have had this problem. There is substantial history here that should give pause to any rational, reasonable individual...and it is a cumulative problem and issue.

I will be providing information on other matters that although hard to believe, have and are happening under this Council's watch and this City Manager's watch that we, the public, are entitled to know. The case against this City Manager is already larger than most realize.

Myself and others have tried to be reasonable and provide the City every opportunity to address 'mistakes' and apparent misdeeds by senior staff. That has not been well received. In fact, one could very easily state that this Council has not only not taken advantage of the numerous opportunities to clarify a string of issues, but that they have instead dug in their heels and taken offense!

HMB residents, businesses, property owners and taxpayers deserve better - and there are numerous individuals that are trying to make that a reality.

Stay tuned...

An interesting note- relevant to both this thread and another on City Clerk Siobhan Smith:

The City Manager is bound by her contract to abide by the International City/County Management Association's Code of Ethics. A failure to abide by this code is grounds for immediate termination.

From that Code:

"Tenet 5. Submit policy proposals to elected officials; provide them with facts and advice on matters of policy as a basis for making decisions and setting community goals; and uphold and implement local government policies adopted by elected officials."

"Tenet 6. Recognize that elected representatives of the people are entitled to the credit for the establishment of local government policies; responsibility for policy execution rests with the members."

(members = the City Manager...)

And finally- the one that is relevant to both Ms. Smith's situation and this one:

"Tenet 9. Keep the community informed on local government affairs; encourage communication between the citizens and all local government officers; emphasize friendly and courteous service to the public; and seek to improve the quality and image of public service."

Not only did Ms. Gonzalez fail to keep the community informed (via her failure to inform the Council, and hence the entire community of her failure to apply for the grant) that tenet of the code of ethics mirrors almost exactly what Siobhan Smith has perfectly represented to our community for the past umpteen years. (Which is why she has outlasted more than a dozen City managers...)



I was asked to write a brief post explaining why what the City Manager did in regards to the TIGER grant met the standard of Separation for Cause.


1. A TIGER grant is an annual grant from the Department of Transportation (Federal Govt.) which is to be used for transportation infrastructure. (Trails fall under this aegis.)

2. At the request of Debbie Ruddock, Staff started pursuing a TIGER grant in the amount of $4.5 million for the purposes of rehabbing and maintaining in the future the entire Coastal Trail that runs through HMB. Because the Coastal Trail is a Millennium Trail (Recognized by the Federal Govt.) it was extremely likely that we would have received the funds.

3. The City filed a (required) pre-application on or before May 4th, 2015.

4. To complete the process the City was required to submit a final application prior to midnight on June 5th, 2015.

5. At the June 2nd meeting of the Council the Council directed Staff in a resolution to apply for the TIGER Grant.

6. The City failed to file an application. (To be clear: According to the DOT the City did not submit an application. Gonzalez contests this assertion, but the DOT has confirmed that no application was made. It was not “rejected” as has been offered by Ms. Gonzalez- it was never submitted at all.)


1. On June 10th the City activates the SAM account which would have been required to properly submit the grant. (The City already had a SAM account- again in opposition to what Ms. Gonzalez has asserted.)

2. At the absolute latest the City (And Gonzalez) had to have known about the failure to apply for a grant on June 10th. (But more probably on the 6th of June- the day after the deadline had passed.)

3. Ms. Gonzalez hid this fact from public view for more than two months, only admitting to Ruddock in the beginning of August that the City had been “rejected” in their TIGER grant application.

The allegations/facts contained in PART I argue strongly for Ms. Gonzalez’ dismissal, but it is the narrative in PART II that convincingly makes the argument that she should be terminated with cause, as lying to the City Council, as well as hiding relevant facts from both the Council and the public are both listed as valid reasons for “separation with cause” in her employment contract.

And more simply: What is this hell we are in wherein the City Manager can lie to the Council, can fail as epically as she did, and can hide the truth for months- and the majority on the Council is just fine with it. (In fact Rick Kowalczyk is so enamored with staff that he proudly told everyone at last week’s meeting that he used his CC “salary” to buy them all some pizza!!) QED Rick feels that it is more important to tell the world of his benevolence than to investigate the moral and practical failures of our City Manager- who he is specifically responsible for overseeing.

My kids watched the Lego movie again last night- and I think we now have a new motto for the gang running this asylum: “EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!!” Web Link

I don't know what to say guys except maybe Magda was less than truthful with the wrong councilperson. By that I mean, not one of the three she considers it her primary duty to listen to.

We need a new paradigm for the City Managers we employ. A City Manager must be responsive to all councilpersons equally or HMB is destined to forever be plagued with a three two split and the pendulum will continue to swing back and forth between the factions.

It should be the responsibility of a City Manager to engage in creative problem solving to bring the majority members and minority members (elected by thousands of citizens)closer together, not continue to shore up the wedge between them and disenfranchise minority members and thus the citizens who voted for them.

Perhaps a term limit policy would go a long way to stop the intrenchment of the factions and give us the truly transparent, open government we deserve.


Since the city manager is an at will employee when is her evaluation?

A month ago...

I hope in the new system I can just post using emojis so I can use crying faces in response to dce's postings.

Such a sad, angry person.

Eight hours, almost 200 views, and you appear now??

Brian (sorry- Superficial Charm) Everyone who reads this thread will know well what they are reading- including your words, and the meaning of someone who would attack someone- in an attempt to distract from the very real failings of their own "team."

I am comfortable and trust that they will see the truth as it is- and will act accordingly.

Hopefully one of these days you will actually have something of material value to offer us. (Other than insults, scorn, and derision...) Lord knows I am hopeful for such a sea-change in your input.

Warmest Regards,


We all know if Condotti wants, Condotti gets.

She and Condotti have one thing in common.

They have the confidence of the incumbent majority, and that's about it.

If you look at their individual performance; Condotti's over the last several years, and Gonzalez's over the last year,

it's hard to see the simple retention of their contracts as being poor decisions made by the incumbent majority bent on following their

"100 year legacy" vision.

They have no where to turn except to double down in this race to the bottom.


good luck, the 3 will not budge,

they are looking to get their "legacy" in place before they're booted out next fall.

Man, what will they do if Magda and Tony get the axe???

With regard to the city manager being fired in another community; I imagine that there is much more to the story than just a failure to file. Especially if this is an at will position.

I don't know the level of experience on this board in employment law, so I willingly ask to be corrected if I'm wrong. My understanding is that there would need to be a pretty significant amount of documentation pointing to cause in order to fire this individual.

It also may be a case that this is a red herring. The city manager may be just 'takin one for the team' to satisfy the publics' need blame ownership.

In the case of our failure to apply; George, from what I've seen thus far, the meetings aren't in asked and answered format. Positions and input are presented to the council, which they in turn examine, etc. after the fact. A revisit of the topic, if necessary, would take place at a later date.

I'm not certain of the right and wrong here, but the council must be circumspect in addressing the issue. It would be beyond irresponsible as well as foolhardy for them to throw her under the

bus publically.

Good Morning perryirmar,

You make good points, although not all are relevant here.

The first thing to remember is that there are two discrete parts to the malfeasance. The first is the failure to comply with the Council's resolution regarding the grant application. The second is the deliberate act of hiding the failure form the council for more than two months- and then when the explanation was finally given is was materially false.

Even if there were a perfectly reasonable explanation for the failure to submit the grant application it remains the case that the concealing of the truth from the Council, and the subsequently proven false explanation to the Council easily meet the requirements under her contract for dismissal with cause.

Of course that assumes a Council that is willing to look at such an issue, which this Council will likely never do. The three in the majority hired her one week after she was fired by East Palo Alto for not dissimilar actions, and it is a lock that they are never going to admit or even allow the possibility that they were wrong in hiring her.

There is no need for any cause whatsoever to fire her. She serves at the will and pleasure of the Council, and given that she will get a 10 month severance (after a single year!!) I am left almost wondering if she isn't trying to get canned.



Ah. Okay. Thank you for explaining. I didn't know what I didn't know.

Now I am confused in a different angle. When it's said she serves at the will and pleasure of the council; is that suggesting that the council didn't want her to file? And if so, why?

Good afternoon, perryimar.

This most recent question you've asked seems speculative to me and here's why; we know what we know and as you so eloquently put it, [we] didn't know what [we] don't know. To subscribe to behind the scenes intent, good or bad, would be speculating.

That is not to say that some speculation isn't warranted, but to suggest that the Council "didn't want her to file" would be a leap, imho.

We know that this Council directed the City Manager (CM) to file (apply) for the $4.5 Million grant. We know that $4.5 Million is approximately 35% of HMB's annual budget (a substantial amount of money). We know that a preliminary filing (required) took place by the City. We know that the application itself was not filed. We know that the CM initially told one Council member, months later, that the application was rejected. We know that is not true, as the folks on the receiving end of the application state that they never received the application from HMB, and we've seen No pushback from this CM or Council. What we don't know is why. For that, all we are left to is speculation.

Like I noted above, we all make mistakes. I've made my share (and seem to be able to keep that unfortunate skill just about daily), but I've Never made a $4.5 Million mistake. It is no more than my opinion, but I'll bet that the vast majority of folks within reading range can make the same claim; that they have never made a $4.5 Million mistake. Most haven't even had the opportunity to make such a grand mistake.

But it could well be just a mistake. If so, it is what it is and let's move on; but it is not now that simple. Now, we know that at minimum, the CM did not tell the truth about the 'mistake'. Had she, we could/should move on, all other actions being in good standing. But once again, that does not appear to be the case here.

This matter deserves further exploration. What is most important here, imho, is the truth and transparency. I do not appreciate being lied to, and I'm sure nobody else does either. There is just no need for it and it should not be tolerated.

There is more to this than meets the eye, in multiple ways - hopefully all of which will come to the fore, soon. It would, of course, be helpful if we had a Council that felt the same way, but it seems this Council majority and the previous Council view things from a personal perspective as opposed to what it is - a job...an honest and transparent effort to make HMB a better place for all, embracing public input.

In other words, it appears that this Council would rather fall on their own sword than appear to back down or question actions &/or motives that they or their staff have made.

I provided this Council an opportunity to review the matter publicly with a softball so soft and slow that Stevie Wonder could have seen it, grasped the opportunity, smacking it into McCovey Cove and putting the matter to bed; but this Council simply ignored the opportunity. Why?

This Council chose to ignore that offering. I see this getting worse, a lot worse before it gets better. It just begs question.

Looking at the obvious; this Council majority hired the current CM just over one year ago. There was tremendous turmoil with this CM at her previous employer, to the point where she was fired ... then immediately hired by HMB. Mr Doughty, the new Community Development Director, worked with the CM in EPA, for example. We already had a good Community Development Director in Dante Hall, who fell victim to the incredible turnover with City admin...to make room, perhaps?

There is now an issue with the HMB City Clerk, who is the best of the best. For some unknown reason, the City Clerk was, as usual, in great spirits and doing her job, then was called into a meeting with the CM. Immediately upon departing that meeting, the City Clerk was in tears and darn near speechless. I know this because I was there.

Now, almost 2 weeks later, the City Clerk is still out and 'rumor' has it that the CM is looking to replace her with yet another "interim" body.

Why and where does it all lead?

Does any of this lead to a better HMB? a better community? a better run City with nothing but the best effort by the Council? Or are we again mired in personal issues - the personal issues that come with micro-managing?

I'll leave that to those smarter than me to answer. I know how I feel about it all.

My blood is boiling as I read this.

Our beloved City Clerk and long time outstanding employee appears to have been ousted by this incompetent wretch of a new City Manager for what can only be nefarious purposes.

Marina Fraser. Farmer John. Rick Kowolczyk: YOU are responsible for this.


Couple of points worth noting:

1) the aforementioned turnover at City Hall was most recently addressed here - "Dante Hall, HMB's First Community Development Director, Gone", Web Link - Clay was kind enough to feature it on the front page of the online Review until just this past week. Why is anyone's guess, but never-the-less, it was featured. Apparently it warranted it (I'd like to think so, anyway).

2) I can't begin to explain how glad I am that despite disagreements on other topics, uff & I are in sync on this one; community first ... and wrong is just plain wrong. I agree with you uff, in simplicity of remedy and its urgency (to name a couple of points).

3) It is my intention not to have a Labor Day lynching here, but to get the facts out as can be laid out. So far, everything I've seen on this thread is 100% accurate which raises a multitude of questions; reasonable, logic questions about what has happened, what is happening and what can/should be done about it.

4) For a sliver of the aforementioned history: a) "East Palo Alto's beleaguered city manager hired by Half Moon Bay", Web Link b) "East Palo Alto to seek new city manager" /

"Council plans to hire headhunter to find a replacement for Magda Gonzalez", Web Link c) "East Palo Alto city manager leaving for Half Moon Bay post" / "Magda Gonzalez's two-year tenure ends in controversy", Web Link d) "East Palo Alto City Council members seek a new city manager", Web Link

HMB is a small coastal town/community. We are not San Jose, Miami, San Diego, Chicago, NY or anything even resembling such. Despite our differences on so many issues that draw on all our passions, we are still a very small community. HMB has a population of under 12,000 people. The entire coastside houses roughly 30,000 folks spread across a vast and beautiful geography.

The one, single constant that continues to disrupt our coastal community is our elected, now primarily in HMB. It needs to stop. We need to understand, embrace and appreciate our differences and focus our attention on what is important in our local government - the one government that impacts all our lives, daily.

PS: you may note that despite all the controversy surrounding the hiring of this CM, the Council members that spoke at the time blew it all off and endorsed her 100%. Walking back that support is one step short of impossible for this bunch. Bet on yet another very ugly fight - as if there isn't enough of that already.

Btw, and one more 'thing': here is the HMB City Council Agenda for August 19, 2014, Web Link (from the HMB City website) - the date the current City Manager was formally hired. This packet includes Ms Gonzales complete contract with HMB. It is worth the look and has been mentioned above. The relevant part (discussion, hiring and contract) starts on page 84, for those interested.

It would be interesting to see what others think of this contract, and after viewing it, what alternatives might be available going forward.

From the link on Dante, above:

"In looking back, just from the 2005 shift from the No-growth Council majority to the Old Guard majority, we have seen a very high rate of turnover in key positions. Taking the City Manager position as one example, from January 1, 2006, we have seen;

1) Deborah Auker - Gone

2) Marcia Reins - Gone

3) Michael Dolder (Interim) - Gone

4) Laura Snideman - Gone

5) Stuart Shillinger (Interim) - Gone

6) Magda Gonzales (current and still here)

That is six different City Managers since 01-01-06! When one takes into account that the position compensates the title holder with well over $200K per year, one would think the position worth holding, from a candidate's perspective anyway. So why the turnover? What is it about HMB that drives folks out? Is it the environment? Is it the weather? Is it the community? Is it their bosses (City Council)? Is it folks like me?"

Six (6) different City Managers in the last nine (9) years, all under this Council majority's watch and participation.

There is a connection between Ms Laura Snideman, Magda Gonzales and the new Community Development Director, Mr Daughty - Redwood City, where they all worked together. (fyi)

Given the discussions on Talkabout, this particular clause jumps out at me:

The City Manager shall take orders and instructions from the City Council only when it is sitting as a body in a lawfully held meeting.

Does anyone believe this has been the case?

C2 just tossed the 'she only works for 3 of 5" out the window.

Curious2- I don't think there is any way to answer that question. Do I personally believe that she has accepted direction from select Councilmembers outside of open session meetings?? Yes. But is that supported by any empirical and supportable evidence?? Probably not.

perryirmar- I'm sorry but I don't understand the reference to 3 out of 5.

>>>Now I am confused in a different angle. When it's said she serves at the will and pleasure of the council; is that suggesting that the council didn't want her to file? And if so, why?<<<

I don't believe there is any reason for the Council to be opposed to her filing the application for the grant. It was full of huge political and practical upside for all five members. (Which is probably why all five approved the resolution directing her to file the application...)

Hope that answers any outstanding questions...


And George? When you read this, please keep in mind that I am the kinder, gentler,thousand points of light, drinks on me, Flintstones loving poster.

Does anyone consider that it's not the council that makes people exit a 200k position, but the community?

Painting a crosswalk is a federal case around here.

I'm damn good at what I do, but I doubt I could stand the scrutiny, I don't think people really understand what they'll be dealing with.

DCE, that she only works for 3 of the council members.

My goal here is not to defend or accuse. I want to understand, and consider what could be accomplished if we laid the pitchforks down.

>>>Does anyone consider that it's not the council that makes people exit a 200k position, but the community?<<<

Hit it on the head, and missed the board completely perryimar.

You are absolutely right- it is the community who (hopefully in this case) is going to make it untenable for the City Manager. But in the end it is completely and totally up to the three members in the majority to do as they wish. In the near year that the five on the Council have been working together (ahem) the majority have never, not once, broken ranks to support any of the two members in the minority. This history has made it clear that the only three people who can have any meaningful effect on this circumstance are John Muller, Marina Fraser, and Rick Kowalczyk.

Those three will have an effect if, and only if, the community make it clear that if they don't have any effect they will pay a political price for their failure to do so.

Otherwise we all might as well be barking at the moon.



Does that mean that the two new members goal is to create division?

Because, why?

To what end, and how can that benefit the city?

I'm finding it difficult to swallow that this is all a well organized

Scheme with hidden agendas. Nobody wins anything.


Two years ago I was not involved politically at all. I paid attention to things (or tried to) nationally, voted, and called it good.

Then I got involved in a small tussle about a 114 year-old bridge, and when I finally revealed my input to the public I was warned in many ways about what was to come. I spent almost six months meeting with people from all across the political spectrum, locally and from the County and State as well.

The shortest and easiest way I can sum this up for you is to state this: The three members that remain in the majority represent interests that date back to the 1800's in HMB, and historically those interests have resorted to everything0 including violence, to retain control over the economy and land in HMB. The problem you have walked into the middle of is that 8 out of ten people living here in HMB moved here after the year 2000, and pretty much none of us have any interest in seeing the policies, anger, or tactics of the majority continue any longer.

They simply do not represent the majority of people in HMB- they represent a very narrow and extremely well-funded minority which is grasping at anything it can to retain control of HMB.

The proof of all of this can be seen in the last three years- which have collectively seen the stalwarts of the majority rejected, over and over again, and as well their policies- with the Measure E and Measure F debacle form last year- which saw them handed their head on a platter as a result of their complete unwillingness to listen to the people they ostensibly represent.

It is a complex story- one I would have found to be fantastic just two short years ago, but one that I now understand fairly well. The two new members were not elected to create division. They were elected to represent the people of Half Moon Bay- which they have doggedly tried to do, despite being deliberately balked at every possible opportunity.

It is no coincidence that the only person you will see on these threads defending the old-guard is a cantankerous and angry poster who literally never adds anything to the dialogue- all he can do is toss out insults in the hope that they will distract someone.

Literally everyone else- crossing all political stripes, is in agreement about the majority in power today.



Just Had to do it, huh perryimar? Couldn't help yourself, huh?

Maybe it's because you can smell the burning rubber when I'm on the road? Those stops can be brutal!

To your point: I posted a link above on Dante Hall's departure from HMB. Contained within that scribe is the question you raise; why the turnover? I do provide several possible reasons, including my hard headed, unyielding approach to what I believe is 'the right thing' on issues and actions taken or to be taken. On that, I can be very stubborn, although I base my opinions and comments on the facts of each particular matter; but that is more in jest than a legitimate reason.

We enjoy a very diverse community in many ways. That's one of the things I love about it here. Just about everyone has an opinion on something ... as it should be; but we all know the old saying - opinions are like bellybuttons...everybody has one. So my opinions are no better or worse than the next persons, although for the most part better informed.

I have spent a lot of years dealing with local government and all the 'players' within, including the "staff", which is and has been a revolving door. It has been my experience, which is what I base my opinion on, that the City Council and strong political divides 9both inside and outside the City Hall doors) are more often than not the cause of the turnover. Ethics and morals have also played a role.

Yes, it can be difficult to get things done, and when they get done they take forever and a day; but that's life on the SMC coast. That, by itself, just doesn't seem to measure up to anywhere near the level of turnover we have had and continue to have in HMB.

Probably the best, most prime example of that is currently being illustrated with the conflict between the current City Manager, who has been here about 13 Months and the City Clerk, who has faithfully executed her job for well over 20 Years right here.

I hope this helps ... and I'll keep looking for shoes that don't smoke and dissolve upon rigorous use.

To your most recent post, premier; the conflicts are all about control. Always has been.

And the funny part is; this is a little tiny town. I don't believe that we're talking personal gain in the form of kickbacks, etc. It's more about; if you want something, kiss my ring.

That ring got old years ago. My hope now is that we don't swing from one extreme to another, which is our history; but rather that we elect leaders that are representative of our demographics - that everyone is represented.

I have stated it many times; I would love to see a Council made up of five individuals, each with differing skill sets, that combined represent all constituents. The diversity I seek will benefit everyone in multiple ways; the first being that each Item in front of that Council will be vetted thoroughly before action is taken. That would be huge.

Further, a Council that would listen to their constituents, embrace complete transparency and based their decisions on the facts of each matter would be sweet.

Complete due diligence on every matter would be a fair start, but we don't get that. Typically what we see is the gun to the head approach, dancing from one crisis to another, or as I've often stated, stepping from one bucket to another.

We do so desperately need real leadership. I have to believe it's coming.

Yosemite X strikes again; sorry; "To your most recent post, premier;" should read (and was typed to read) "To your most recent post, perryimar;"

To me, everyone here seems cranky. Probably because I don't know people and it seems that many things said here have triple meaning.

My response is all over the place, so I'm commenting out of sequence.

First, any of the CM would be insane to attempt dialog in here. Too much tossing around of unsupportable facts that are really opinion. I mean ALL of them, not just the 3 that are always being called into question.

I just can't comprehend what interests are being protecte. There isn't old money here that matters.....nor mineral or oil rights to hold at all cost. That's what confuses me about the venom, because no one seems to benefit, and if they actually do, it's a pretty lame mob, at best!

Do you see where I'm coming from? No one can answer what would behoove the old guard to risk a hidden agenda. Following that line of thinking, it makes things brought up in here seem targeted and purposely inflammatory.

That's why I keep asking why. If the good guys or the bad guys win.....what's the prize? Immortality? Great fortune? No. So, why?

George, you can call me Bam Bam ;)

>>> There isn't old money here that matters.<<<

Are you kidding me?? We're living on a goldmine- and if you don't understand that part then I can see hwy you don't understand what all the fuss is about.

The Pacific Ridge subdivision which just started construction a couple of months ago is likely going to net the landowners $50 million or so. And you can trust that every family-held piece of land, as well as every developer-held chunk of property (Including Mr. Muller's- which miraculously had a 4" water main run right out to it in 2012- despite there being nothing there) is in the hands of someone who is itching to build on it- before building here becomes functionally impossible. (It's very difficult right now, but not impossible...)

I would just guess that if all the developable property were to be developed in HMB alone we're looking at roughly $500 million to a billion dollars of actual cash that would be pure profit to the landowners.

If that ain't enough motive for everything I've said above then I'm not sure what else I can offer!!



"(Including Mr. Muller's- which miraculously had a 4" water main run right out to it in 2012- despite there being nothing there)" It's six (6) inches ... just the right size for future development and more than ample for the stated purpose of irrigation (one inch works for the need there.

This is an example of what I've been getting at. Points of view as well as facts are stated here in a way that suggests there is a possibility of wrong doing. In a forum like this, or any news media, people come in and get a taste, then move on. All they take away with them is away bad taste in their mouth, having no real idea what they ate.

I read the above and think "pumpkin man....bad". But I still don't know why. Because he could do bad things if he wanted to? In that case, I bet I'm worse! Even if he did have pipe run for possible later development.....why is that bad?

See what I'm getting at?

For my part I believe that I understand the motives of the two minority members: they wanted the application for the Tiger Grant submitted and they are very disappointed that the city manager failed to submit the grant as instructed. They want bridges repaired not destroyed or neglected. They want sidewalks repaired and kept safe by the city. They want city money to stay in the city not go to out of town consultants. They want the city to respect all the environmental laws on the books even the ones I believe are supremely stupid because it cheaper for the city to follow the laws than to break them.

The counc

For my part I believe that I understand the motives of the two minority members: they wanted the application for the Tiger Grant submitted and they are very disappointed that the city manager failed to submit the grant as instructed. They want bridges repaired not destroyed or neglected. They want sidewalks repaired and kept safe by the city. They want city money to stay in the city not go to out of town consultants. They want the city to respect all the environmental laws on the books even the ones I believe are supremely stupid because it is cheaper for the city to follow the laws than to break them.

The council majority -- for reasons that nobody on this site can explain -- pulls in the opposite direction. We may never be able to explain why. The earliest we will be able to try is when a new council majority is in in place. Only then will there be access transparency into the files. Until then, at the earliest, we will only be guessing.

Hi perryirmar,

Let's take them in reverse order:

>>>Even if he did have pipe run for possible later development.....why is that bad?<<<

Because he used his influence to get the water-main installed. He used City resources to make it happen, to bypass the planning process, thereby getting the approval from the Planning Director and giving himself a competitive advantage in securing the few remaining water hookups available on the Coast. No other land-owner has anything like that kind of pull, and the only hydrant you will find sitting in the middle of nowhere is on Mr. Muller's property. (Actually it is his wife's property, but that's another story for another day...)

>>> Points of view as well as facts are stated here in a way that suggests there is a possibility of wrong doing.<<<

perrirmar- you are an adult and can choose what to make of the following facts:

1. While John Muller was on teh City Council of HMB a 6" water main was run to his property- which is not near any structures in need of fire protection that would justify a 6" main. (Remember- the main supply line for the entire City is only 10".)

You can think that the narrative is a hit-job out to get the mayor, or you can think it is an accurate recitation of the facts, but either way you won't be able to prove it one way or the other because the City has historically worked very hard to deny access and transparency to the public when it comes to matters like these.

Numerous people tried to investigate this rather convenient occurrence, seeking documentation and other things that would reveal why the line was installed, and how a subordinate to Muller was used to get the pipe installed- and they were told to go pound sand. So the only reason we have nothing more substantial to give you is what George identified above: The City hides everything from public view, and the only way to gain access will be to get a new majority on the Council and then start peeling back the layers of the onion.

Finally: >>>"pumpkin man....bad"<<<

There are certainly a significant number of people who would agree with you in one form or another, but I don't offer or agree with that assertion. We are all, to one extent or another, good and bad in many ways. Thus the fact that Mr. Muller appears to have used his influence to benefit himself going forward does not make him a bad man. (In my book anyway...) It does mean that I don't want him running my government- which is why I described the facts as I did above. If you read carefully you will see that I call out his character not at all, and I focus (as I always do) on his actions and how they affect our local community. No one or the other of us has a lock on righteousness, and John has done many things that are good for the community. (And some others that were not so good...)

I hope all of this helps you in one form or another,


Perrimar and others;

If you mean to say there isn't anything wrong with not unsubstantial decisions based on future development for ANYONE without council say so,


that's just not the way we do things in America.

We vote for leaders that are supposed to carry out public will.

What we have are several not unsubstantial decisions that has cost the city MILLIONS through we will develop/we won't develop factions vying for the final hammer.

What has happened is the leadership we have now are COUNTING on development of beachwood not to mention the personal treasure they and their cronies have at their disposal, to make this a develop or we're broke proposition.

Develop, or we're broke.

Now do you get it better?

I'd like to start by acknowledging the fact that you guys have been patient and given time to responding to my questions. I'm asking for back story that many are already privy to. I appreciate the indulgence.

I wasn't saying that anyone can go off half cocked and develop without a nod to city ordinance. What I am asking is, if it is private property, is there a law against running a certain type of pipe?

That is the example topic, but you get what I'm saying. I like to have alot of 220 amp outlets in my home. Some could speculate that I do so because I have a master plan of setting up an industrial endeavor. Shame on me, I'm in an area that is not zoned for this. Perhaps I've found a work around in the political system!

The reality is, I have a lathe, welder, and an industrial washer and dryer (not really, but you get my point)

perryirmar- I"m going to step in and specifically ask George to explain how a fire hydrant in the right place makes development possible- he's much more able to do that than I ever will be.

As to 220v outlets in your home- you can wire the entire place in 220 and not violate any zoning codes. You get two-phase 220 at the box, so what you do with it inside your home is your business.

But if you asked the power company to run a high voltage transmission line straight to your house- then people would rightly ask questions. Especially since the only thing such a capability would be for is to power a subdivision or so.

That's what happened here. The line is not really in use- it terminates at a fire hydrant in the middle of nowhere. The claimed use was for irrigation, but the appropriate size pipe for irrigation is 1". (To place this in context: a 6" main is capable of more than 1000 gallons per minute of flow- there is no possible use for that type of capacity- in the middle of a field no less.)(Unless you are planning to supply thirty or forty homes...)

George- please illuminate the fire-hydrant as road to subdivision if you would be so kind.



Going to re-read.

I am not certain I'm explaining my question well enough. I don't care for a dialog style that includes throwing people's words back in their face. That isn't my aim. However I think the clearest way to state what I am getting at is to say.....show me your empirical evidence.

(Sorry DCE, but it truly is a great verbal tool to cut away opinion. Therefore, I am stealing it and will copywriter it immediately!)

What does the community want to do with Beechwood ?

>>>show me your empirical evidence.<<<

Evidence of what??

perryimar, I'd like to make a suggestion;

You seem to have an interest, a genuine interest in local politics. I wish more had that - it's a good thing. You ask good questions. It appears your questions are based on concerns, as they are offered in a humble and non-confrontational manner (which in itself is unusual around here).

At the same time, I hope you realize that the answers, or responses to your question hold history, the history of active participation by some. That makes those answers 'tainted', if you will - tainted by the respondents point of view based on the facts and history in the matter.

For the best answer(s) to your questions and points, which are legitimate, may I suggest that you take the next itty-bitty step - go to a few of the Council meetings. See for yourself. Ask a few questions that some might think sticky. See where they go.

HMB history, particularly its political history goes back quite a ways. There are some very prominent names sprinkled throughout, and as time has marched forward, some conflict ... defining public interests and representation.

You will note that, particularly in the 1990's, a well defined opposition to the old guard stepped up to be counted. The divide has only seemingly gotten worse over time, tending to go from one extreme to another (old guard which some consider growth oriented at any cost and no-growth, which some consider the extreme polar opposite of the old guard).

The only way that I can think of to truly get the answers you seek, and likely more, is to take the plunge and (I'm gonna sound like an activist here, but...) get involved. Depending on your learning curve, it shouldn't take long to get the sense of what the core fuss is about.

The biggest fear from either side of the political aisle in HMB is that the 'other side' has control. It is all about control. There is nothing else - and that is why we have the polarization that you sense here.

I'd like to see a diverse Council consisting of 5 intelligent individuals, each with their own skill sets, that give a damn about HMB and are more representative of the community they represent. I'd like to see complete transparency and a working relationship between all 5. I expect disagreements, but once the meeting is over, that nobody is waiting in the parking lot for another's exit. I would treasure a Council that embraces the public they serve, that expects all aspects of a matter to be present when asked to take action on any matter (due diligence) and that, based on all the factual data, makes the best decision for all constituents.

I could go on, but I have shared my wish-list many times before and don't want to bore anyone. HMB and indeed the entire coastside is in the throes of political chance right now; and it's about time. Folks are finally questioning and stepping up for change - positive change, not just one side vs another which only benefits those spewing the fear of the other.

May I suggest that you, perryimar, stick your toes in the water and find some of the answers to your own questions. That may be the best, maybe even the only way that you will understand all the machinations, personalities, players and issues we face and why that is so.

wonk, I apologize, but I did't see your request (fire hydrant) until after I had posted.

Good logical question and worth the look; but I think it best if those in question do a little (untainted) research on their own.

There's an old adage that goes something like this; If I say it, you won't believe it - if you say it, it is so - or something along that line.

The best way I know of to learn and understand something is to dive in with a thirst to learn and understand. It has worked time and again and for good reason; now the 'diver' has their time and resources invested, which usually means their approach is a better one to resolved questions and doubts.

HMB has what is referred to as a Local Coastal Program/Land Use Plan. It is a State requirement for any municipality that wants some self-determination on land use. HMB's is woefully outdated and contradictory and has been the cause and source of much angst over the years (like the Beachwood matter, for example).

HMB's LCP is reflected in its Municipal Code, which can be found here: Web Link For land use questions, this may be a fair start toward any answers; just realize that just as the HMB LCP is out of date and in places contradictory, so is the HMB Municipal Code - but it is what it is.

For anyone interested in local politics, this Code is a good tool to start with. It will also enlighten one on land use, although the LCP itself gets more into the weeds.

I can't believe you just told me to go look it up, George!

Those burning feet of yours must make you cranky :)


I am starting to think perryimar is not a new, impartial observer at all but someone else trying to speak for the HMB City Council/City Manager powers that be. Each and ever question and opinion comes back to the three majority CC members and the city manager being improperly discussed and comes close to accusing the two non-majority HMB CC members of being the ones causing the dissent. I do not agree but feel it is a waste of time to continue dialogue with perryimar.

My 2 cents. Terri

Alright Bam-Bam (I've been so waiting to use that one), I guess I sort of did suggest you 'look it up'; but my reasoning is good and based on experience.

I can't begin to tell you (or anyone else) just how mucked up our local political scene is. To the average individual, it can be a conundrum, and understandable. But if I share my thoughts then you are getting a filtered response. Now that response may or may not be spot on, complete in factual basis and inclusive of all pertinent factors, but it is still filtered.

You seem to have more than a passing curiosity and I applaud that. We (HMB) have enjoyed a more informed electorate over the last few years and the results are there to prove it; but it isn't over and done. It is a work in progress.

Balance can be a very difficult thing to achieve, particularly in local government; but it is local government that has and holds the most direct impact on our daily lives. The best way to understand all the moving parts is to dive in, like I suggested. That is how I started those oh so many years ago and how everyone that questions and pushes back starts out.

So rather than feel that I just told you to "look it up", maybe a better view is one that implies that I'm suggesting that you take that one more step and see for yourself.

A few basic points that cause question might include; why is this Council majority ignoring the fact that the current City Manager "forgot" to apply for a $4.5 Million grant, particularly after filing a preliminary application (required) and directing the City Manager to apply for the grant? Further, why did the City Manager mislead a Council member months after the fact, and nobody is questioning it (nobody in position, anyway).

As long as we're at it; one might want the answer to the question; why hasn't and why won't this Council majority place an advisory Measure on the soonest ballot asking constituents what type library they want? or how large? or at what cost? Do you, perryimar, think that the submitted 'plan' fits where the current library is? Do you question why this Council chose lease revenue bonds over general obligation bonds as a rev source, which have a higher yield (larger payback)? Are you happy, or even satisfied with how this Council majority has handled the Main Street Bridge matter over the last five (5) years?

Did you, perryimar, get the opportunity to vote in the Fire Board (majority) recall? Did you get the opportunity to vote on Measures E & F last June, regarding the Main Street Bridge and the ensuing Vote of No Confidence?

Did you vote on Measure O, the sales tax increase extension? Did you note the distinction and severity of the claims made by this Council majority regarding Measure O - that if you vote No that you don't support a new library? That is the very same (diabolical, but tried and true) method of attack we have seen on CUSD requests for money through debt - if you vote No, you hate kids.

Yeah, so maybe my (alleged) look it up approach might be worth the test. Get the answers by asking the right folks the right questions - unfiltered. Not bad advice, really. I can assure you of several things, but the one that will stand out amongst them all will be; for each question you find "the" answer to, you will unlock multiple questions in its place.

Happy hunting.

Hi perryirmar,

Terry makes a valid point above- but I'll take deliberately canted engagement to the usual vitriol every day of the week. With that said though we've drifted a bit- and I'd like to bring us back to the point of this post. If you have any issues with the following recap please feel free to let us all know. It is as factual as it is possible to be, and every assertion of fact can be proven with actual evidence.

Recap from earlier in this thread:


1. A TIGER grant is an annual grant from the Department of Transportation (Federal Govt.) which is to be used for transportation infrastructure. (Trails fall under this aegis.)

2. At the request of Debbie Ruddock, Staff started pursuing a TIGER grant in the amount of $4.5 million for the purposes of rehabbing and maintaining in the future the entire Coastal Trail that runs through HMB. Because the Coastal Trail is a Millennium Trail (Recognized by the Federal Govt.) it was extremely likely that we would have received the funds.

3. The City filed a (required) pre-application on or before May 4th, 2015.

4. To complete the process the City was required to submit a final application prior to midnight on June 5th, 2015.

5. At the June 2nd meeting of the Council the Council directed Staff in a resolution to apply for the TIGER Grant.

6. The City failed to file an application. (To be clear: According to the DOT the City did not submit an application. Gonzalez contests this assertion, but the DOT has confirmed that no application was made. It was not “rejected” as has been offered by Ms. Gonzalez- it was never submitted at all.)


1. On June 10th the City activates the SAM account which would have been required to properly submit the grant. (The City already had a SAM account- again in opposition to what Ms. Gonzalez has asserted.)

2. At the absolute latest the City (And Gonzalez) had to have known about the failure to apply for a grant on June 10th. (But more probably on the 6th of June- the day after the deadline had passed.)

3. Ms. Gonzalez hid this fact from public view for more than two months, only admitting to Ruddock in the beginning of August that the City had been “rejected” in their TIGER grant application.

If anyone has an issue with that series of facts I'd love to hear it, and if not I'd love to hear what you think an appropriate response should be.



Terri makes a point, yes. But it just brings me back to my original concern/thought that the purpose of forum is personal. Casting doubt on my intent because I'm questioning what I'm reading. I'm not jumping on the bandwagon just because someone tells me to.

Honestly, looking through threads there is very little written in a positive light. At first blush, it does look bad. But no one follows it up with why.

I will throw the full weight of my abilities behind those I believe in. That includes ethically bring down those I don't.

I can't do either if I'm blinded by a mob waving pitchforks.

Hi Perryirmar,

I don't get the "mob waving pitchforks" assertion- especially in light of your statement that you will ethically bring down those you don't believe in. (That's exactly what we are trying to do.)

I'm not casting doubt on your intent at all, although you have made an interesting pursuit of how you go about asking for factual and other assertive statements. I've offered you a fairly deep historical background above- but you haven't inquired or commented on that in any way. I've offered you several explanations, with the factual assertions to back them up, that describe what happened with this grant- but those also seem to elicit little interest. This thread is about the TIGER grant and our failure to file it- and what the repercussions would be. You've offered a lot of other information- that I have personally spent a fair amount of time trying to clarify/answer for you.

This thread is the very antithesis of a mob with pitchforks. No one here is calling for anything untoward, and the thread started, and has continued, with solid factual representations of what happened, and a discussion of what the repercussions for that occurrence should be. If you have doubts or concerns about the factual assertions then by all means let them fly- if I can't answer them to your satisfaction then it's on me for not making my case strongly enough.

It is common to offer that there are two sides to every story- and while I guess that is true I also believe that sometimes one side is right, and the other side is simply wrong. It's up to you to decide for yourself which side is which in this struggle- but I think it is also worth noting that no one in support of the majority (with one exception) will post here to represent their position in any form. That is telling, or it should be at least- as is the fact that the City has not offered a single word in response to the incident- to the paper who asked for comment as part of their reporting, or to anyone else.

Thanks as always for your participation, hopefully we'll get there eventually. (Wherever there really is...)



My position is to reserve judgement until I know what is true.

Merely by my taking a stance of "maybe they're not all bad" I have twice been considered 'suspect'.

That is why, the first time I asked if the forums' purpose was to only sling mud. I wanted no part of that.

You guys said "no", which brings us to now.

In reading back, it seems like there is a singleness of purpose; to elude to the fact that people are doing bad things for the wrong reason. In light of that, I completely get why I look like I don't belong here. Or, that my purpose is as questionable as everyone else's here seems to be. My goal was only to understand the facts. Pitchfork was a metaphor, and poorly timed. My apologies

Now my main goal is to hear George call me Bam Bam.

DCE, George, et al.....thank you for your responses. I'm going to copy and read. The server went down before. I will also do as recommended and look it up instead of opening up discussion here.

Thanks for your time.

Allude. Spellcheck mocks me!

Never fear- spellcheck mocks all of us- Bam Bam especially!!

I hope one thing was made clear from everything above: I don't personally believe these are bad people. They are simply acting in their own interests- which happen (in my opinion) to run counter to the interests of the community of Half Moon Bay.

And this thread is about people who did a bad thing- for whatever reasons.

"My position is to reserve judgement until I know what is true. "

I'm glad to hear that- as I've also said a couple of times above: I don't expect or desire that you take anything I write or say and assume that it is correct. I would much rather that you take the time to research and come to your own conclusions. If they mirror mine then we won't have much to speak about. If they don't then we have a reason for an ongoing dialogue- to try to fathom how two reasonably bright people can see an issue from two different places. In either case the onus is on me to justify what I have written here and elsewhere, and if you ever feel that I have stated something that I cannot prove empirically (other than an opinion- which I usually call out as such) then I hope you will call me out on it- and seek to insure that I can prove that which I am asserting.

Warmest regards,


"Allude. Spellcheck mocks me!" Sometimes it is rough getting a little respect. When even IT jumps in, it can be tough indeed.

Alright Bam-Bam (I'm getting to like that), I'll offer another suggestion for you to consider in exploring issues, nuances and the rest; it might be helpful to scroll through past threads; I'm talking about throughout the years. There are plenty of them to scan, and get a 'feel' of and maybe even support for where we are today in terms of local government bodies and players (for lack of a better term).

Btw, Bam-Bam, you forgot to answer some of the questions I asked of you! Oversight, I'm sure; but the answers to those questions will provide you and the rest with a fairer understanding of each other, the issues and possible common ground.

Maybe you want to keep those answers to yourself, and that's your prerogative; but those questions are a direct line to the core issue with HMB and the Council elected to "serve" HMB.

Are we being served? That question doesn't need a public response, but a good one to ask yourself - repeatedly as you scroll through prior threads, issues and comments to those issues.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have a Labor Day BBQ to attend (now that it is finally starting to cool off). Bring on the food and beer!!! I'm beyond ready! - Although I'll miss summer and am not looking forward to winter. This El Nino is suppose to be particularly brutal. I know we need the water, but memories of bad El Nino's past has me concerned.

Maybe an arc might be worth consideration. Can't be That hard to get a CDP, can it?

Arc: In general, an arc is any smooth curve joining two points. The length of an arc is known as its arc length. In a graph, a graph arc is an ordered pair of adjacent vertices. In particular, an arc is any portion (other than the entire curve) of the circumference of a circle.

Ark: Web Link

Actually George - there have been SEVEN CMs in 9 years - Paul Nagenghast was interim between Marcia and Laura. What I find intersting and frankly very telling - five of the seven had never served as a CIty Manager before - zero experience as a City Manager anywhere. Laura had never even managed people in a department. None except Paul, had any coastal experience at all which is pretty important when you are managing a City with complex coastal issues. And finally - when you look at the succession from Dolder forward - each manager was basically selected by their predeccesor. The fact that Siobhan Smith hung in there through it all is amazing. I truly hope they are not going to try to hand the TIGER grant snafu on her!

Meant Marcia and Dolder :-)

Mr Bills, you are just a wealth of information.

Kendall: good morning stranger. Hope you and Steve had a great Holiday. You're really challenging my memory cells here. I know Paul was the "Deputy City Manager, a title and position he neither wanted nor enjoyed, but I seem to remember that occurring with Ms Reigns at the helm. Further adding to it all is that the City Managers that I have listed came from City Hall. I'm not so old yet that I don't remember, but as you know I do my best to be factually correct on City matters; I asked for and received (From Siobhan, btw) the City's list of City Managers and that is what is posted.

Paul, under the pressures of multiple jobs and strained attitudes around here left for Woodside, where he currently works as Deputy Town Manager ... and is vey happy doing so. What a great find Paul was. What a loss that he left; can't blame him. Another example of losing a great person who gave it up everyday and gets s*&^ on in return. Paul was good for HMB - and now Woodside has him, likely till he retires...and we got Mo.

And, saving the best for last: Siobhan is a big girl and fully capable of making her own decisions; but that said, if she doesn't come back, all Hell is going to break loose. It may well break loose anyway, as it should. I, for one, have had it with all the petty BS and personal issues driven by whatever admin is in "control", which of course is only a mirror reflection of the admin's boss - the City Council.

It is past time for change - positive change, which includes transparency, the dropping of attitude and personal issues and the embracing of constituents as opposed to always trying to use the constituents like some game pieces.

The Measure O ballot Measure, Council hype and vote with the Council saying yes means you want a new library and no means you don't want a new library - and its defeat - and subsequent "work around" with lease revenue bonds to put the new questionable structure in anyway says it all.

The change I speak of has already begun.

I'm sick and tired of the bureaucratic two-step; don't want to do that dance anymore.

I spoke to an individual who has reason to know about these things and she had two offerings:

1. Paul Nagengast was the interim City Manager between Marcia and Laura.


2. Marcia is reputedly the mentor of Magda Gonzalez- our current City manager. Thus the fact that they both appear to be cut form similar cloth is not so surprising all in all.

Which probably explains a great deal...



Tomorrow will mark the 21st day since the knowledge of this story was made public on the front page of the Review. Yet despite having numerous opportunities to do so the City has not mentioned a single word in response to this failure- from either Staff or the Council.

What makes this possibly more notable and unfortunate are the numerous things the City has elected to bring out in public- such as Rick Kowalczyk's pizza party- held for Staff to show them his gratitude.

It is incredibly insulting to the general public that not only was this event allowed or caused to unspool the way it did, City Staff (or the City Manager at the very least) holds us all in such contempt that they feel there is no explanation necessary- and that any queries into such an explanation are simply to be ignored. (Even from the usually supportive or at least not unfriendly Review...)

In two and a half days this thread has generated more than 1000 views- which doesn't translate to 1000 individual people looking at it, but does translate to an epic amount of interest. The City Manager would do well to recognize that this fire is only growing, that the community is aghast, angry, and interested in an explanation, and to further delay the inevitable reckoning is not helping her cause at all.

The City Council for their part needs to step up and demand accountability- whether or not the individual councilmember was one of the five who hired Ms. Gonzalez.

To do any less is to abrogate your responsibility to our community.



As it turns out the inspiration for this thread (Livingston MT Board of Commissioners) met last Wednesday in full view of the public and decided not to fire their City Manager. They did have some choice words however.

Web link: Web Link

"Disgruntled Commissioners said previously that Meece failed to apply for a federal Grant for a major infrastructure project. As a result they were considering his removal from the position. Commissioners questioned Meece about failing to submit an application for a Tiger grant.

Vice Chairman Dorel Hoglund said she was torn about the motion to remove Meece from office and was uncomfortable with the process, but did acknowledge during the meeting that she thought he made a significant mistake.

"I think that it's a disappointment because it was an expectation, but I also sympathize with the mistake that was made," said Hoglund.

Hoglund also addressed concerns that Meece can be hostile or difficult to work with.

"It's not a popularity contest but having the skills to get along with people does matter," said Hoglund.

Commissioner Jon Reddington said he was ready to move the group forward in a positive direction, without Meece and said multiple Commissioners had voiced concerns about the administrator.

"As a Commissioner, I feel that I need to represent people who voted me in and also, it's not just one Commissioner, it's been a few," said Reddington."

And finally the City Manager's response (Meece)- the last portion of which is almost certainly what happened here in HMB: "He told the commission he lost user names and passwords and initiated the grant application process at the very last second."

Of course the one thing that is different in these two narratives (besides the way one Council dealt with it openly and ours is basically hiding under the covers) is that our City manager not only failed to file the application, she also deliberately chose to hide that fact for more than two months- from the Council and from the public. So even if she got a partial pass on the first "mistake" she should absolutely not get a free pass on the second, much more troubling "mistake."


She should get no pass on ousting our wonderful city clerk.

That's unacceptable.

Because sometimes irony is just not enough:

"Magda Gonzalez Receives Cal-ICMA Ethical Hero Award"

On February 25th of this year no less!!

Story is here: Web Link

I have no idea what the people want Perrimar.

I do know a good leader is one whose chief concern is service.

Doing things for nothing in return.

Like listening to ALL concerned parties and making decisions based in science.


They missed out on a Grant for 4.5 Million dollars.

That must reeeeaaaallly HURT, knowing their penchant for sending OPM!

They can always get more elsewhere, I guess.

Don't know if anyone noticed or not, but there is a Special Meeting scheduled for Tuesday before the regular CC meeting. The subject? "City Manager Performance Review."

To me this seems like an interesting litmus test, reality check, and rubicon all wrapped up into one package. (Not that we'll get to know the results of the review- that will be kept confidential...)

Apropos of this thread, and of the TIGER debacle, will be the notion that the Council can either terminate Ms. Gonzalez' employment, or severely refocus her efforts as they feel necessary. That there is immense interest in this subject is clear- this thread had more than 1000 views within the first 48 hours of being posted, and while that doesn't mean 1000 individual people took a look a great many still did.

Thus the Council has an opportunity to show that it can adapt, can recognize when things are not working our as they should, and they can thus take decisive action as a result.

Or they can continue to fail to adapt to a changing world here in HMB, allowing the status quo to continue, bringing the anger and angst of the community along with it.

Time will tell.



Is all the reason needed to separate with Gonzalez common knowledge?

If all is needed is administrative wizardry, how come Dante Hall was given his option?

And a crying and upset 20 year city administrator up to her neck in what seems to be poor direction from the 3 to the 1 in collaboration with the other to deliver the long vaunted plan for a grand vision, a 100 year legacy.

With such a high rate of turnover, how will HMB ever be anything than a latest grand scheme?

We need direction. We need leadership. The ongoing plan to deliver a fresh hell to long time residents with traffic to the city limits and beyond, with piles of garbage littering our streets and beaches, with unlivable neighborhoods taken over by some rental scheme on the internet,


How are you all falling for it?

If you hired Mother Theresa herself back from the grave there'd be some special interest trying to sway her options

Hire a long term city staff not beholden to whichever deviltry just occurred and will likely occur again.

Just get a good administrator that will guide the 3 lost ones

We need to take things more seriously than ever.

The 3 delivered a D U D !

My thinking here is that if the council takes action, it may be in the form of that which we cannot see.

I say this because, at face value, we may believe there is sufficient cause, however it may not be enough for termination.

I agree that adaptation is needed.

Actually perryirmar you are exactly right- the only thing we will get to see (if it happens) if the results were she to be terminated. California Law protects employee matters from public view, so there will be basically nothing to report- no matter what is said behind closed doors.

The other thing worth noting here is that one Councilperson specifically requested a week ago that a review and report of what happened be presented at this week's meeting. The request was ignored. Thus we cannot know if there is sufficient cause as the City Manager- with the Support of the Mayor, continues to hide the truth from the people (and Councilmembers not so preferred) of Half Moon Bay.



I apologize if this is a dumb question. I'm still trying to understand the structure. BUT......how do we know it was ignored?

I don't ask that in a snotty way. I really mean, how does one know those things?

And while I am asking dumb questions, am I missing something, or does the job of mayor get appointed by taking turns, and not elected?

>>>how do we know it was ignored?<<<

It isn't on tomorrow night's meeting agenda.

>>>how does one know those things?<<<

One reads the Agenda for the meeting. :) Web Link

Yes the position of Mayor is essentially rotated through. But she and the City Manager are the only two people legally empowered to force or place something onto the Agenda for any given meeting. Thus if it isn't there it tacitly has her support.

Hope that helps,


In hindsight, I applaud your restraint in not just responding "DUH?!"

No worries. We learn as we go, and I think we learn the most when we ask questions without fear of being labeled or judged as a result.



another 200 views or so in the last 24 hours.

This is a huge issue on the coast generating a huge amount of interest.

I'm mostly just relieved that I didn't ask, " HEY!!!!! How come we don't have a tiger?"

So as it turns out the Special Meeting tonight isn't really a special meeting- only two Councilmembers are invited (and one of them is in Singapore!!)

And the meeting isn't for a "Public Employee Performance Evaluation." Rather we are being told it is so that the HR subcommittee can either figure out who to hire (yes, another consultant) or otherwise decide how to perform the basic act known as an employment review.

This whole circumstance raises interesting questions:

1. There is no need for a meeting of a subcommittee to be noticed, nor is it special. So why was this "meeting" noticed at all??

2. In actual fact if it is a "Special Meeting" then the entire Council is invited, even though it appears that the only Councilmembers who were informed about the meeting were Rick Kowalczyk and Marina Fraser.

3. Since the meeting has been noticed and is closed because of Govt. Code pertaining to employee matters they would presumably need a quorum of Council members to take any action- the subcommittee wouldn't have the authority at the meeting to do anything at all.

4. Employee reviews have been performed here in HMB (and in every other City) for decades, all without hiring a consultant to navigate the process, or without anything more complex than a meeting to evaluate the employee's performance. It's obvious that we're contracting out nearly everything in our City, but is this really necessary, and if so why??

5. Using that exemption (Section 54957) isn't really proper in this case as the issue isn't a "performance evaluation" it's the procedure or tools which will be used to perform that evaluation- which absolutely should be in the public domain. (Here's the Citation verbatim: (b) (1) Subject to paragraph (2), this chapter shall not be

construed to prevent the legislative body of a local agency from

holding closed sessions during a regular or special meeting to

consider the appointment, employment, evaluation of performance,

discipline, or dismissal of a public employee or to hear complaints

or charges brought against the employee by another person or employee

unless the employee requests a public session.")

I'll have one more post prior to the meeting with an analysis of what the possible reasons for this interesting set of circumstances might be- if you want a hint go dig up the City Manager's employment contract and give it a read through!!



Too much complexity to go into right now, other than to say that the whole shebang is pretty crooked all in all.

Apparently tonight's meeting is to "suggest" to the City Manager (Specifically not to "Give direction") that she go hire a consultant to run her review. Once she has a consultant to recommend she will bring it to the Council for approval.

I guess its no wonder they are trying to keep this from public view. The Council Majority (or two of them in any case) is going to meet tonight behind closed doors to tell the City Manager to go find an individual who will perform or facilitate her employee review.

The chutzpah and sheer inanity of the whole thing sort of takes your breath away.

I've sent an email to the City Attorney asking that the meeting be canceled and properly noticed and held in public- but if recent results are any indication we all know how that one will work out...

See you at the meeting-


A better way of summing up tonight's special meeting:

"Oh, hi Magda, it’s time for your yearly review. Do you have any friends you’d like to recommend from outside the City to perform your review for us??”

"But Ms. Mayor don't you think the Council should decide how and under what circumstances my review will be conducted??"

"Nah, you know we trust you Magda!! Just find someone you know will do a good job for us." (wink wink) "Then we'll tell the whole Council that this is how it's gonna be, and all will be good after that!!"

I mean C'mon!!


Please excuse my ignorance here, but two things come to mind for me; 1) I thought the City Manager already had her review, about a month ago & 2) surely we can handle one more consultant at the trough. It is, after all, one of the primary reasons the City is talking about and looking into expansion of City Hall.

The current City Hall just isn't big enough, according to staff and the Council. As a result, the Council is seriously weighing spending six digits plus recurring monthly rent to either rent more space or lease modular units. That has been a discussion for going on two years now, and staff has filed a report stating that current conditions have reached a serious safety concern.

I have suggested expanding the current second floor, to cover the existing City parking lot. Others have suggested reducing the vast number of consultants. Maybe a look at both might resolve the City concerns?

So, if the City Manager is being asked to provide a consultant for her review, I have little doubt that she can find one in RWC that will work. The question then becomes; where will this consultant's office be and how much will that cost us?

Hi George,

Sorry- Item 1: Nope, no review yet. Item 2: Well I guess so- I mean why not really? The more the merrier I guess...



On another unrelated but interesting note: Just three hours before what will likely be an interesting (read contentious) meeting our $5,000/month Minister of Propaganda/Friend of the City Manager let fly an email to the masses: "HMB Community News Special - Pilarcitos Bridge Groundbreaking"

Ohh, a "Special!!" That must men something really urgent and timely- they will probably start tomorrow or the next day- given the timing and "Special" nature of this message!!

Ohh, well, let me see... It says here... The groundbreaking is, ummm, the 25th!! Woohoo they are breaking ground tomorrow!! Oh, wait. Today is the 15th.


I want to state on the record: There is absolutely, positively, without any doubt, no chance that this joyous missive was sent in preparation for any fallout from tonight's meeting.

I mean no chance at all...

At least Mr. Smith is earning his $5k a month!!

Cheers :(


And if you were wondering whether or not Ms. Gonzalez is actually going to address the $4.5 million TIGER grant debacle a tonight's meeting I think we've now got our answer...

Or perhaps not. Only time will tell!!

Good news!! We finally have an explanation from the City manager!!

She's gone on record with an explanation.

Bad news!! She is on record with demonstrably false statements which are going to collectively ensure that this thread continues unabated in the near future...

Stay tuned- it's going to be an interesting week or two!!


Expose the series of events.

Just what really happened.

Gonzalez's excuse wrapped in lies was as pale as Fraser's attempt at making Muteff acquiesce to her bullying.

They honestly think everything is going to continue on course.

The quicker they understand the new paradigm the quicker they can adapt.

They still do not get it.

As anyone who watched (or heard about) Tuesday's CC meeting already knows: The meeting was a bit of a ride. On the relevant topic in this thread Ms. Gonzalez offered a detailed and convoluted explanation of what happened and why.

The reason I haven't personally addressed her lengthy explanation is that it is going to take some time to properly address and quantify the meaning and implication of her words.

There is however one simple and incontrovertible explanation of one item that can be given, and that is somewhat damning all by itself.

Ms. Gonzalez states on the record that she became aware of the failed grant application on July 1st. She goes into some detail describing how she was notified, and how she went to the phone to "notify the Council." of the failure.

Yet more than a month would go by before Councilwoman Ruddock was made aware of the fact of the failure by Ms. Gonzalez.

Thus Ms. Gonzalez either inadvertently or intentionally made it clear in her explanation that she did in fact know of her failure at least one month prior to notifying Councilwoman Ruddock of this fact.

On any rational planet a City manager who failed to notify a sitting Councilmember of the loss of a $4.5 million grant as a result of a failure of Staff would be fired within days. (Or minutes perhaps...)

Here?? Not so much...



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